It isn't easy seeing a senior loved one at home because one or more physical limitations puts them at a higher risk of falls and the associated injuries. It may require a bit more creativity, but planning safe activities to do with your senior creates opportunities for them to get out and enjoy their day.
Participate in Senior Center Activities
Senior centers are becoming more common. You may think of them as just a place to go for a senior to enjoy a meal. Many allow and encourage younger family to join in for the meals and activities. The facility usually has activities planned beyond just their meal time.
Senior Centers have scheduled times for board games, sewing, and crafting activities, computer lessons, and many more ideas all geared towards the enjoyment and safety of the elderly. A senior center in Jackson, MS, offers computer classes so the elderly can stay connected to non-local family and friends. Another center in Alverado, TX, hosts game nights every Monday for seniors to enjoy friendly competition.
The design of senior centers includes safety considerations, so you shouldn't have to assess before hand if bathrooms are accessible, if there are good grab bars for help with balance on stairs or in walkways, no trip hazards like area rugs and good lighting so seniors can easily see where they are stepping.
We love this option! Swimming is fun and it's good exercise. Whether you are swimming or just wading, being in the water creates full-body engagement. It lets us use stabilizer muscles that might fall into disuse in a more sedentary lifestyle. Not only is there no fall risk in the swimming pool; the body awareness and muscle strength that swimming cultivates can actually help reduce your loved one's risk of a fall.
Giving your loved one the gift of a massage, or getting massages together, is a wonderful way to increase blood flow, decrease muscle stiffness, and heighten body awareness. Massages can leave you less stressed and more calm... and they feel really good! This is a fun and low-risk activity that, like swimming, might actually leave an elder less likely to fall.
Explore Wheel-Chair Accessible Hikes
Do you live near any parks or wilderness areas with paved, wheel-chair accessible paths? If so, going on short hikes is another fantastic activity to do with elders. While walking, the path should be clear of obstacles and low-risk. If your companion gets tired and wants to rest, you'll be there with the wheel chair. Again, the strength building can actually decrease their risk of falling in the future.
Do Yoga for Seniors
Many community centers and assisted living facilities offer yoga classes geared towards seniors. Often the exercises are seated, and focus on stretching and gentle strengthening. Building muscle and body awareness will feel good, and be a protective factor against falling.
Attend a Show
This can be a movie, a play, a concert, or any kind of show that you think your loved one will enjoy. If you're near Tucson, we recommend going to a show at the Gaslight Theatre. We're also a fan of the live music in Long Beach at Harper McCaughan Town Green amphitheater.
Being exposed to a new environment with plenty of interesting things to look at and take in will be a wonderful experience for your elderly loved one--and since you'll spend most of the production seated, there's no chance for a fall! To minimize the odds of a fall, consider choosing a seat close to the exit or one that's easy to get in and out of.
If your loved one enjoyed spending the day outdoors before their health declined, they'll probably still enjoy it now! Take your loved one out on a boat and enjoy the peaceful day together. There's no need to stand up and walk much, but you'll be able to spend the day doing something productive—or at least pretending that you are.
Visit an Aquarium or Museum
If your loved one is still able to walk with assistance or will ride in a wheelchair, a visit to an indoor aquarium or museum can be a perfect way to spend a few hours. There are attractions scattered across the country, from Atlanta to San Diego.
It's a great opportunity to be exposed to new things and get out of the house for a little while, but the walkways are usually clear and well-defined, and there are usually plenty of places to sit down when it's time for a break. If you're worried, time your visit appropriately: going in the morning on a week day means that there won't be as many other visitors, so you won't feel rushed.
Go Out To Eat
A meal out along with some fun conversation would be a wonderful experience for your loved one. Again, scoping out the options ahead of time can make sure the outing goes smoothly. Select a restaurant that doesn't require climbing a set of stairs to enter. If your loved one has any hearing issues also consider the typical noise level of the restaurant. You want them to be able to listen to and participate in the conversation. Consider eating out a little early when the crowds will be light.
There are many safe ways to keep your senior social and active. At Caring Senior Service, our expert staff is comprised of extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and trusted professionals who take pride in helping your loved one manage their daily activities. Contact the Caring location near you to learn more